How to Pop Your Ears? (Relieve Ear Congestion & UnPop Ears)

If you go up quickly, such as in a car on a drive up a mountain or on takeoff at the airport, you have experienced the build up of pressure in your ears. You also know that the way to relieve that pressure in these circumstances is to pop your ears. If you are one of the unfortunate people who suffers from allergies, then odds are good that you experience a similar kind of pressure just from all of the congestion. This problems is not limited to just those with allergies either. People with colds and other ailments also experience a similar build up in pressure that can be very uncomfortable, even painful.

The extra pressure is caused by the narrowing of your ear tubes because of the congestion. To relieve it, you have to effectively reopen the passages and dislodge the drainage that is causing the additional pressure. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to ease or eliminate the pressure by popping your ears.

If you are suffering from ear congestion, there are a few different ways to get your ears to pop.


Typically swallowing is your best method of reducing the pressure. Hot drinks are a great way of combining a way of breaking up the drainage with swallowing to more quickly eliminate the problem. Tea is the recommended drink, particularly a green tea, as it can help overcome illness as well as the additional pressure. Hot soup is also very effective at helping to remove the congestion and getting your ears to feel better.

If you are planning a trip and you will have to go by plane, plan to take along a pack or two of gum. Gum helps you salivate more, which means you will swallow more often. Make sure to start chewing before the airplane begins takeoff so that you already have ample saliva to continually swallow until the plane reaches cruising altitude. As soon as you feel the plane begin to descend, start chewing another piece. Hard candy also works in place of gum, although it will not last as long so you may need a small bag of them.


Yawning is among one of the easiest ways to get your ears to pop because most people are able to yawn just by thinking about it. When yawning to pop your ears, you want to try to get a deep, longer yawn going to get the best results. After a plane or car ride, yawning is very effective because the pressure was built up quickly.

If you are ill, you may not be able to yawn wide enough to relax and open the passages, but by yawning periodically, you can help to keep the tubes open. The reason it doesn’t work so well during illness is that the pressure has been building up gradually, so your tubes are working against drainage. A deep yawn can be effective, although not as much as drinking something hot.


When you are out in public, getting a hot drink is not always an option, and yawning isn’t something you can always do on command, at least not to the extent you need to get your ears to pop. You can try the following steps to get your ears to finally pop and feel better. Note that once your ears pop there will be some residual pressure.

Step 1: Shut your mouth tightly and pinch your nose shut. This keeps additional air from getting into your air passageways so when you begin to force the air through, it will be forced through the pressure points.

Step 2: Turn your head to the right, resting your chin on your right shoulder. This will help force the direction of the air as it opens the tubes of your left ear.

Step 3: Repeatedly swallow until your left ear pops. Try to put as much force behind your action as you can.

Step 4: Turn your head to the left, resting your chin on your left shoulder. The tubes of your right ear are now opened as much as possible.

Step 5: Repeatedly swallow until your right ear pops. Again, you should be trying to swallow as forcefully as you can.

This is one of the most effective ways of fighting pressure during on a plane if you can’t get your ears to pop.

If you find that you are still having trouble with your ears, try the following to see if your ears will pop. It is most effective when you have water in your ears after swimming.

Step 1: Place your palm over your ear. Notice you are not placing anything in your ear. Do not try to substitute things like earbuds or other tool to do this. Use your hand or your fingers and do not put them in your ears.

Step 2: Push in on your ear with your palm and push your head against your hand.

Step 3: Release the pressure you applied, but do not remove your palm or finger from the ear hole.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3.

This method is very similar to how you unclog a toilet, and can be very effective. Remember that the suction comes from the outside, not from inside. By repeating the action, you release pressure, resulting in the water being dislodged.

If you are still having trouble, try the following, called the Valvasa maneuver.

Step 1: Shut your mouth tight and pinch your nose.

Step 2: Gently try to breath out through your nose.

You’ve probably seen people trying this. Their cheeks may bulge out and they could turn red in the face. You should not be using that much force. It is a gentle exercise to try to open the passages. You can actually damage your ears if you are too forcefully.

In the event that you are still having problems, call your doctor. You may have other issues that need to be taken care of before the pressure can be effectively eliminated.

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